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Increase IT Sustainability Through Change Management

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The customer success manager's team of Devoteam Luxembourg
The customer Success Manager’s team of Devoteam Luxembourg

With its dedicated team, Devoteam supports companies and their employees in an environmental and sustainable IT approach.

To remain competitive, companies must digitalise their processes. And to be credible with their shareholders, customers and employees, they must also reduce the carbon footprint of their activities, infrastructures and IT tools. These two challenges often require a global rethinking of their internal practices, and imply a real transformational change management.

At the beginning of 2020, Devoteam Luxembourg, a consulting firm specialising in digital strategy, technology platforms and cybersecurity, set up a dedicated team, Customer Success, to support its customers in this process.

More recently, it activated the Devoteam M Cloud programme in Luxembourg, a partnership for premium consulting, solutions and managed services based on Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.

According to Thierry Barthel, (Head of customer success), Antoine Alric, Customer Success Manager, and Marie-Gabrielle Poupel, Customer Success Manager, IT could and should be used and consumed in a more efficient and sustainable way by companies and their employees.

By changing some methods, teams could easily and quickly reduce their carbon footprint. But, implementing a more eco-responsible IT policy generally requires a real change in the mentality and in the way that teams work.

What are the most costly IT practices in terms of CO2?

Thierry Barthel (TB): Data storage on physical servers, PCs or tablets, as well as attachments exchanged by email and stored on different devices and workstations. In addition, companies often pay for licences and applications they don’t use or don’t use much. But these tools could help them gain in productivity. A sustainable IT approach therefore requires the adoption of simple practices.

Antoine Alric (AA): such as hosting data in the cloud, to free up space: an automatic file versioning feature makes it possible to keep previous versions of a single document, without having to store each version on the PC or server.

Similarly, by using a simple cloud link to share documents, we reduce the need to send heavy attachments by email, a practice that negatively impacts the company’s carbon footprint.

How do you help companies in their change process?

Marie-Gabrielle Poupel (MGP): First of all, we review the existing situation (tools, processes, and applications used), we look at how people work, and we also try to identify the governance and culture of the company and its flexibility in the face of change. During the first workshops, we select employees from different departments to see how they work, use and consume IT in their daily tasks.

After this assessment, we suggest alternative ways of working that are more productive and sustainable, and help teams to implement them. We also have a mission to raise awareness in this area. We also offer training to help employees become more proficient with the infrastructure at their disposal, rather than buying new services and tools.

Through our methodology, clients can achieve substantial cost savings and reduce the risk of lost information or manual errors.

What solutions do you recommend?

TB: Our approach is to help customers use the full potential of the tools that they have invested in. Ideally, we advise them to adopt a full cloud approach. For example, Micr’s cloud solution, especially for the Modern Workplace part of Microsoft 365, offers about 20 ready-to-use tools. Many companies are already using them. It’s a matter of helping them to become more efficient and eco-friendly. The Microsoft cloud also allows teams to better protect their data and assets, by diversifying the security systems at their disposal. Microsoft’s data centers are highly secure against intrusion attempts.

What change projects have you done recently?

AA: We have helped companies implement communication tools to facilitate work and collaboration between their employees at home and in the office. For example, Microsoft Teams, with its online meeting features, has allowed them to reduce the number of emails exchanged and stored, and has generated a higher return on investment. For others, we have helped them automate their processes, particularly legal and billing processes. For others, we have offered them turnkey tools to better measure and therefore drastically reduce their carbon footprint.

MGP: Through our methodology, clients can achieve substantial cost savings and reduce the risk of lost information or manual errors. For your information, at Devoteam, we also apply this approach internally. We are one of the few companies in Luxembourg to use Microsoft without any servers on our premises. In its environmental approach, Microsoft has set itself the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

What is the average project duration?

TB: If the company starts directly in the cloud, the project can be completed fairly quickly. If they already have a lot of liabilities, very heavy processes and an extremely complex hierarchy, it will take much longer. Very often, the global vision of the company is not well communicated to the users: they do not know why this change is being imposed on them.

Our objective is to offer a change management approach with a sustainable vision of IT management.

What types of companies do you support in particular?

AA: All Luxembourg companies could be concerned; as long as they want to improve their processes, to move towards application cloud services or for server and infrastructure needs. Most of our customers are Luxembourg companies specialised in services as well as in the financial sector. We also support administrative bodies and industrial operators, in particular through a process of increasing skills via training.

Who are your main contacts with these clients?

MGP: They are mainly IT managers. However, we believe that HR directors should also be key contacts, to initiate and implement a change management approach. The involvement of a sponsor, such as a CEO, CIO or HR director, allows for the right kind of communication, being visible on the whole project, and allowing employees to better take ownership of the change. Team managers must also be important stakeholders, as they will have to both “undergo” this transformation and promote it to their teams. They are in a way the first line of defense in the adoption of change.

What do you think are the major obstacles to change?

TB: Management doesn’t always listen to the needs of its employees and imposes a way of working on them, rather than focusing on the user experience and placing its staff at the centre of the process. Moreover, a company that is not culturally open to new initiatives will take years to achieve its goals. By investing a little more in change management, it would reach its goals much more quickly.

AA: Microsoft’s goal is also to have teams take ownership of these tools, which are within their reach, so that they can create their own business applications without any line of code or development required. There is also an inclusive aspect to this approach: all of Microsoft’s tools allow us to verify accessibility for people with visual or hearing problems.

What strong messages do you want to convey?

TB: Our objective is to offer a change management approach with a sustainable vision of IT management. Some companies are specialised in change management. Others focus only on the deployment of tools. Our added value at Devoteam is to combine the three: because we are familiar with change management methods and tools and are aware of the environmental issues. We can therefore manage change very well by training teams on the tools, their added value for the company, and their environmental impact.

AA: More broadly, there will be one and only one digital transformation: it must therefore be sustainable. Sustainability is not only about reducing CO2 and investing in local companies. To achieve this, we advise our clients to choose local partners and to extend their approach to their entire value chain, and to integrate their suppliers and customers.

MGP: We also insist on the human factor: because managing change is also about managing people, their professional skills, but also their personal and emotional skills, and their time: This is therefore a major challenge for companies wishing to acquire or retain their talents. They often forget that human capital is one of their most valuable assets.

Article provided by Silicon Luxembourg